For The Broadsheet Film Club’s first movie, program curator and owner of Darlinghurst’s DVD store Film Club, Ben Kenny, picked a winner. “I wanted a crowd-pleaser. But an overlooked, underrated one,” he says.
“It’s something that’s close to my own heart and a favourite of the store. It’s my go to film.”
Hot Rod is the first feature created by the Lonely Island boys – Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone – featuring the trademarks of the trio’s humour. The film is absurd, puerile yet remarkably clever in its triviality.
“It’s definitely a Lonely Island film – a screwball comedy with a lot of absurdist lines and clever music cues.”
The story is not much more than a framework for a series of gags. Rod (Samberg) wants to be a great stuntman, following his late father’s (fake) legacy, as well as prove his manliness to his stepfather (Ian McShane). Take this, a cast of supporting comedians such as Bill Hader, Danny McBride and Taccone; numerous failed stunt attempts; out-of-context and almost painfully long quips; and ludicrous references to ’80s films such as Footloose and Road House and you’ve got a fairly odd feature film.
“My favourite part is the cool beans moment. It’s such a strange, out of place moment, as if the film itself is breaking down and losing its structure. I love that in films, where they break the medium a little bit,” says Kenny.
Although appearing to be set in modern day, the film could just as easily be set in 1984 with its killer cheesy soundtrack and questionable fashion. “The film’s living in this strange, nostalgic suburban neighbourhood,” Kenny notes.
Although flopping in the States and being panned by critics, Hot Rod has become a film lover’s favourite. “Comedies are a different beast. They can’t be rarefied or reviewed as an Oscar-winning drama would. A lot of them gain their audiences on home video or TV, getting better with repetition. Hot Rod is certainly one of these. Each viewing gets funnier and funnier,” says Kenny.
The ticket includes a cocktail designed especially for the night. The Green Tea Smash is inspired by a quote from the movie and includes green tea, apple, mint Tanqueray Gin, topped with soda. There will be mushroom arancini, a hot dog and cheese and charcuterie plates to purchase.
The Broadsheet Film Club will run on the last Thursday of the month; September 28, October 26 and November 30. Tickets to the first film club are available now.